Collections like that formed by California’s Allen Harriman and Edward Judd (dispersed at a benchmark auction by Sotheby’s in 2001) testify to the keenness of those collectors across the Atlantic.
For all Martinware enthusiasts, the collecting zenith is one of the brothers’ ‘Wally’ birds, jars with removable heads which are really clay caricatures of people in Victorian London.
Texas auction house Heritage will have no fewer than eight birds from two different US collections to disperse in its 20th century design sale on November 18. This is the second substantial group of avian creations to be offered in the US within the year following Phillips’ sale in New York of a British-formed Martinware collection in December 2015.
Six of the Heritage birds come from one local collector who acquired them around a decade ago. The other two, plus three other pieces of Martinware, have been in the same West Coast collection for around 30 years.
While the birds are the most expensive of the Martinware categories, other examples of their creations are rising in price and popularity. The sale also includes one of their distinctive double- faced jugs dated 1911 which carries an estimate of $2500-3500.
For more information on Martin Brothers, please see ATG’s collecting guide.